Narendra Modi today invoked his humble origins to hit back at Congress and its Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, saying that "those born in an aristocratic clan" feel it below their dignity to contest against a tea vendor hailing from a backward class as they had a "feudal mindset".
Targeting Rahul without, however, taking any names, Modi told the BJP national council at Ram Leela grounds that, "The tradition in which they have grown up, the way they have established themselves as a senior family, when people live this kind of life, their mindsets become conditioned in such a manner that they feel it is a matter of shame to contest against a tea boy."
He said that it feels humiliating for those "born with prominent surnames" ('namdars') to contest against those who are known for their work ('kamdars').
"It feels shameful... they think there is no equality... These big namdars feel bad about contesting against a kamdar... they think it's humiliating for them," Modi said.
"They think it is below their dignity to fight against a person who was born in a backward class... one whose mother used to clean dishes in the neighbourhood, a person who used to sell tea in railway compartments," he added.
Modi's speech invoking his humble origins evoked a strong reaction from JD(U) leader KC Tyagi, who said that a "poisonous tea selling" person should not become prime minister.
"A tea boy can become PM, but a man selling "poisonous" tea should not become one. Modi through Gujarat has sold "poisonous" tea to the country," Tyagi said.
Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had mocked Modi's prime ministerial ambitions saying that although the Gujarat chief Minister could not attain that goal in the 21st century, a place will be identified for him to distribute tea at the AICC venue.
"I promise you that in the 21st century, Modi will never become prime minister of the country... But if he wants to distribute tea here, we will find a place for him," Aiyar had said recently at the venue of an AICC meeting.